Spuds and growing themGrowing Food From Grocery Store Items: Russet Potatoes Esmaa talks about how she and her family planted out a bag of organic potatoes and have now harvested a crop.
Potatoes are great for this as any sprouting ones can be dumped into near enough anything and they will grow. Most of the time even ones not sprouting will grow too.
I did this recently with a bag of cheap spuds that had sat in the back of my fridge for too long. As you might know I don't have a garden of my own but have been growing things in other people's gardens. My friend Doug has grabbed hold of home growing with both hands and had plenty of space for a few spuds (he has even more since we cleared a load of concrete and stone back to get to the soil it was on top of).
The spuds are growing happily next to the spinach which my family and I have been eating lots of lately.
Potatoes are best harvested after the flowers appear on the plant. Sooner for baby new and a little later for "old". They grow in any mud all though lighter compost gets better results. If you plant a lot mix up the types you plant to minimise the chances of loss due to pests and other problems. Plant in any spaces you can't grow anything else in.
Super budget gardenMattsBigGarden. We started filling the compost bin at site number two.
Site number two has a budget of nothing and aims to grow fruit and veg to be eaten by the household. Starting so late into the year and with such a small budget makes for an interesting challenge as to what one can grow.
Ethical Food is Tasty Food
Yep okay nice to see you. That was half the readers of the blog leaving in disgust because I eat meat. I have teath designed for eating meat and vegtables, a digestive system that is likewise attuned and I live in a culture that is set up this way. I'm just being "normal".
The problem is that I am, in leaving things so late, even less likely to obtain an ethically reared bird than I am a fresh one. So finding a fresh one is a big challenge and finding a free range, natural one is quite unlikely but as Dan Barber presents "A surprising parable of foie gras" you will see that ethical food is often the best, the most sustainable and so, frankly, the only sane choice.
Only smallness can save us!Thanet is a small island district of Kent in the UK. It is one of just two ideal locations for growing cauliflower but the credit crunch has exposed a single point of failure in the current aggricultural methodology - the supply of potash and phosphates the price of which has shot up.
Kent News has an interview with one of Thanet's last few cauliflower farmers as the news slowly trickles through that the price Supermarkets pay and the cost of production do not match up.
the year before [...], Peter Linlington of Birchington, who Mr Philpott called “the best cauliflower grower ever”, stopped producing caulis on his 400 acres.
It is this very problem that is addressed by the creation of "micro farms", permaculture installations and the return of the owner farmer and the family run small holding. George Monbiot suggests that the most efficient farms are the small farms. He is talking about something called the "inverse-size yield relationship" [more] which basically stats that the productivity of the farm is inversely proportional to it's size.
Big business is killing small farming.states Monbiot
by developing plants which either won’t breed true or which don’t reproduce at all, it ensures that only those with access to capital can cultivate.
Yet the credit crunch is killing access to capital and with it our only reliable access to food. Now is the time to consider every way we can to take back control of our food production.
What do we drink now?Sickness bug found in tap water, (BBC News)" echoing so closely the fears written about in "What replacements are there for main water?" (questions 20/04/08) we can no longer hide from the fact that water supply to any given area is a natural monopoly.
As a result we have a shared resource and it takes only one person to make things very bad for us all.
In "Pissing in your own well?" I addressed the issue of Thanet and the risk posed to it's water supply. Until we have mass installations of personal rainwater reclamation systems this is a warning to us all.
Water is a commons. It is at risk.
Eat the tree
A step towards that is the growing of foods in a sustainable way. Such a way might be to plat permanent crops - that is plants that don't need to be replanted every year. This is exactly what one group are doing according to treehugger.com
The reason that the group is concentrating on nut trees is their potential to outgrow cereal crops in terms of carbohydrates, and to utilise poorer soils with fewer inputs.
Keeping your cool
Actually this has never been a problem for me as I have had a solution based on unglazed pots in my head for a long time. The theory is this - you fill an unglazed pot with water and put it in the shade. The water will seap through and eveperate and the remaining water will be very cold as a result. That should adapt to storing food nicely.
Apparently I'm not the only one that has been thinking these thoughts. The people that need it most are now benefiting from the idea. The idea is not mine - I picked it up from a tutorial on what the Bible was on about when it spoke about giving someone a "cup of cold water". So now you know too.
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